Softball slips up again at Western Kentucky in midweek road trip


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts (14) looks on in despair in the Crimson Tide’s 3-1 loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on April 27 at WKU Softball Field in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

This was not your typical midweek game.

The scene in Bowling Green, Kentucky was one-of-a-kind leading up to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers’ game against the sixth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Fans were lined up outside the doors of WKU Softball Field nearly two hours early in order to get to their seats for the game.

Even after the primary seats were filled, Hilltopper fans lined the walls of a parking deck just beyond the outfield, creating a truly unique atmosphere for college softball.

The Hilltoppers (31-9, 13-5 C-USA) were no slouch, coming in with an RPI ranking of 43, and proved to be too much for No. 4 Alabama (39-9, 14-7 SEC) – winning by a final score of 3-1.

The postseason-like energy was buzzing, and Alabama felt the pressure early on. The Crimson Tide was retired in order in the first inning and immediately Western Kentucky took advantage of Alabama’s starting pitcher, Jaala Torrence.

Torrence, 6-1 as a starter this season, gave up three hits in the first inning including a stand-up RBI double from third baseman Taylor Sanders and a two-RBI double from power hitter Bailey Curry. Facing a 3-0 deficit, head coach Patrick Murphy turned to his ace in senior Montana Fouts to replace Torrence in the circle.

Fouts delivered, as Alabama fans are accustomed to seeing, striking out six batters and giving up only one hit, which did not come until the sixth inning.

With Fouts in to steady the Alabama defense, the Crimson Tide offense needed to capitalize on opportunities in order to get back into the game. Those opportunities were not taken advantage of, as the Crimson Tide was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position through five innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, Alabama had a bases-loaded situation with two outs but grounded out to second, ruining a golden chance to put runs on the board.

The Crimson Tide finally got on the board in the seventh inning after an RBI single from freshman Jenna Lord that brought in Savannah Woodard. But it was too little, too late.

Alabama will be off this weekend and will take on the Missouri Tigers in its final series of the regular season back in Rhoads Stadium beginning on Friday, May 6.